In a country with such a huge area, it is particularly important to plan the travel route as precisely as possible. While Texas offers a variety of attractions, there is sometimes a long way to go between them. The state stretches approximately 1,300 km from west to east with its river valleys, forests, prairies, plains and beautiful beaches. The large metropolitan areas of Dallas and Houston offer an interesting contrast to the laid-back charm of the capital city of Austin with its parks and historic San Antonio with its predominantly Hispanic culture.
San Antonio: The Historic Legacy of Texas
In 1718, Spain built the San Antonio de Valero Mission (later called “The Alamo”) near a Native American village in the southern reaches of the Texas Hill Country. The associated Fort Presidio San Antonio de Bexar was built to protect the mission. The current names of the city and country go back to the Spanish origins in the 18th century.
Because of its beautiful riverside location, the city is considered the most popular tourist destination. Worth seeing is the Riverwalk, la Villita – the small village -, the Missions National Historical Park and of course the Mission Alamo. If you like Wild West history, you should pay a visit to the Buckhorn Saloon & Museum. There’s plenty of Wild West memorabilia here.
Major events include the Holiday River Parade and Lighting Ceremony, the Texas Folklife Festival, the San Antonio Livestock Show and Rodeo, the Starving Artists Show at La Villita and along the River Walk, and the Fiesta San Antonio.
San Antonio is also famous for its excellent golf courses.
Houston: the metropolis of Texas
According to timedictionary, the city is named after Sam Houston, the general of the Texan army that fought for independence from Mexico, and the President of the Republic of Texas. The city has experienced phenomenal growth since the Allen brothers built a small riverboat dock on Buffalo Bayou in August 1836. Houston is off I-10, a portion of the Ports-to-Plains Highway.
Worth seeing is the Menil Collection – an art collection of the philanthropist Dominique de Menil, who died in 1997 and who especially valued the surrealists Rene Magritte and Max Ernst. A visitor-friendly attraction is the Space Center Houston, which has accompanied all US manned space missions since 1965. Here you can try on space suits, touch real moon rocks and inspect spacecraft such as those from the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs.
Houston also has the largest indoor air-conditioned pedestrian tunnel with shops and restaurants.
Major events include Freedom Over Texas, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, and the Houston International Festival.
Dallas: The ninth largest city in the USA
In 1841, John Neely Bryan took possession of this area and built a lonely log cabin. He envisioned building a commercial center that would take advantage of the vastness of the land and the river. With the construction of the railroad in the mid-1870s, Dallas developed into a vibrant business location and center of commerce. The influence of French, German, Swiss and English immigrants – well educated and cultured – gave Dallas a cosmopolitan flair unparalleled in the border region. Dallas has more shopping centers per capita than any other city in the United States and is home to America’s oldest shopping center, Highland Park Village. The daily Dallas Farmers Market downtown is one of the largest open-air markets in the country.
At least a dozen entertainment districts can be found around downtown.
The Dallas City Parks and Recreation Department offers a variety of indoor and outdoor activities year-round at the city’s many facilities and parks.
Fort Worth: Dallas quiet neighbor town
Unlike swanky neighbor Dallas, Fort Worth, 25 miles east of it, is small, quiet, and down-to-earth. On June 16, 1849, Brevet Major Ripley Arnold established the Camp Worth military post on the banks of the Trinity River where the West and Clear Forks meet. The outpost was named for Ripley Arnold’s recently deceased commander, Mexican war hero General William Worth. The settlement grew and prospered long after similar towns vanished with the dust of departing pioneers. Livestock farming set the tone for the next generation to farm the Fort Worth branch of the historic Chisholm Trail in the 1860s and 1870s. In the saloon district of Hell’s Half Acre, where Sundance Square is downtown today, the cowboys enjoyed the game,
Today, Fort Worth, the 16th largest city in the country, presents a very different picture. Calling itself the “City of Cowboys and Culture,” the city boasts world-class museums, art galleries, theatrical performances, concerts, opera and ballet, as well as a year-round rodeo and the world’s only twice-daily cattle drive.
Fort Worth has several entertainment districts where visitors can marvel at Old West heritage, art, shopping, nightlife and dining. Major events include the Southwestern Exposition and Livestock Show and Rodeo, Main Street Fort Worth Arts Festival, Mayfest and Frontier Fort Days, Red Steagall Cowboy Gathering and Western Swing Festival, and the Lone Star Film Festival.
Austin: The Capital
In 1839, scouts set out in search of a large tract of unspoilt countryside on which to build the new capital of the Republic of Texas. They chose a site on the Colorado River with a four-family settlement. They changed the original name, Waterloo, in honor of the “Father of Texas” Stephen F. Austin. In September 1839, the archives and furnishings of the Republic were moved from Houston to Austin on 50 ox carts.
Today, the city prides itself on being the “world capital of live music”. Austin has more than 250 live music clubs throughout the city. The city’s standing in the music world is cemented in no small part by the South by Southwest Music, Film and Interactive Conferences in March and the Austin City Limits Music Festival in October.
206 parks with an area of more than 67 square kilometers invite you to outdoor activities. A popular amenity is easy access to hiking, biking, and mountain biking trails. Paddling, boat trips, fishing and much more are not neglected.
City tours by bike, train, Segway, horse-drawn carriage and boat or on foot are also on offer.
Austin is the gateway to the Presidential Corridor via US 290, Texas 21 and Texas 6 connecting the George Bush Presidential Library to the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum.